Object. Human albumin is used to induce hypervolemia (central venous pressure [CVP] > 8 mm Hg) after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Unfortunately, human albumin may increase the mortality rate in critically ill patients; because of this, its use became restricted in the authors' hospital in May 1999. The goal of this study was to determine the effect of human albumin on outcome and cost in patients with SAH before and after this restriction was put into place.
Methods. All patients with aneurysmal SAH who were admitted to the authors' institution between May 1998 and May 2000 were studied. Basic demographic information, dosage of human albumin given, length of stay, and the incidence of in-hospital deaths and complications were collected. The authors obtained Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) scores at 3 months after SAH (good outcome, GOS ≥ 4). Data were analyzed using t-test and chi-square analysis. Logistic regression was used to identify independent associations between use of human albumin and outcome.
The authors studied 140 patients: 63 who were admitted between May 1998 and May 1999 (Group 1) and 77 treated between June 1999 and May 2000 (Group 2). Two subgroups of patients were further analyzed. Group 1 patients who received human albumin (albumin subgroup, 37 patients) and Group 2 patients who would have received albumin under the old protocol (that is, those who failed to achieve CVP > 8 mm Hg after normal saline administration; nonalbumin subgroup, 47 patients). Patients in the nonalbumin subgroup were more likely to be male (38% compared with 16%), to experience hypertension (55% compared with 30%), to suffer from hypomagnesemia (49% compared with 5.4%), and to have hydrocephalus (47% compared with 27%). There was a trend for these patients to have more vasospasm (28% compared with 19%, p = 0.2). Patients in the albumin subgroup were more likely to have a good outcome at 3 months.
Conclusions. Administration of human albumin after SAH may improve clinical outcome and reduce hospital cost.